Hershey is in the top 10 with 73% favorability, behind Amazon, Google, and UPS in the online survey, which asked consumers to identify whether they had a favorable or unfavorable view of 500+ companies that “define American culture and commerce."
Campbell’s isn't far behind with a 71% favorability rating.
However, an analysis of the responses according to age suggests that Boomers are largely responsible for its high score. Campbell’s was the number two favorite brand among Boomers, typically defined as those born between 1946 and 1964 (some of whom perhaps remember Andy Warhol’s iconic popart play with the brand’s logo and product).
Meanwhile, enthusiasm for the brand progressively declines the younger the respondent; it places fifth among Gen Xers, and 27th among Millennials. “The brand’s future may see it consigned to nostalgia,” wrote Morning Consult’s policy editor Anna Yukhananov about the company’s generational gap.
She added that it’s a dilemma faced by many canned soup brands, as revealed by Euromonitor data, which found that shelf-stable soup is disproportionately popular among older consumers. Counteracting this trend, it launched microwaveable bags of soup. Some of its other experiments, such as K-cup soups, didn’t fare so well.
While Campbell has invested in packaged fresh food and personalized nutrition, and ventured far beyond canned soup, this may not help much as consumers don’t necessarily connect these brands with Campbell, according to Morning Consult.
In groceries, Kroger beats Whole Foods
In another category tracked in the report, Kroger beat out contenders for favorite grocery retailer with 53%. Trailing behind it was Whole Foods Market, which Morning Consult said was largely due to more people viewing Whole Foods unfavorably (13% disliked Whole Foods, compared to 9% for Kroger).
Respondents' income mattered only a little bit—Kroger won the hearts of Americans of all income levels, including those that make $100,000 annually, though the gap narrows the higher up the income bracket is. Whole Foods Market was only behind by one point among US top earners, compared to five points among middle earners, and 16 points among those earning less than $50,000.
The first part of 2017 hasn’t been easy for the natural channel giant, which Kantar Retail analysts suggest has lost its mojo a it failed to keep connections to its original shopper base. It had to nix its 1,200+ store goal in February, and lowered its sales growth expectations.
“Natural/organic has gone mainstream. You can buy the same quality product almost everywhere, from Kroger to Aldi to Walmart,” Kantar Analyst Diana Sheehan told FoodNavigator-USA in a previous interview.
“[Whole Foods] essentially have lost its core loyals over the last few years without gaining significant growth among Millennials,” she added.
When looking at just food and beverage product companies, Kellogg is in third place with 69% net favorability, followed by General Mills and Smucker’s tied at 67%.